The Saga Continues

I’m getting more done with my phone, using GPRS, now that 1MB of data costs approximately ₦165. It is helpful (it has brought you this blog post for instance). It still costs much, but with careful planning, I can get stuff done whilst spending the minimum amount of money.

Since I have had to make adjustments to my computer in order to minimise its network bandwidth usage, I have stumbled upon a few quirks that I’m not entirely comfortable with. I outline them here. Some I can work around, for those I can’t, I hope the people who can, find them worthwhile to do something about.

  • I configured my email client, Evolution to stop automatically checking for new email every few minutes. Quirk: this is not as easy to do as I wish it was; I basically had to manually edit each account, and remove the necessary check-mark. Quirk 2: It is not very intuitive how to send email without forcing a "check and download" of new email. Since Evolution is free software, I can file a bug report against it, but I have to convince myself first that these are actually bugs worth fixing, and not just me wanting to please myself, in which case, the only way my voice would be heard is if i submit a "minimally invasive" patch (whose chances of happening are close to zero, considering my skill set).
  • I Disabled network-manager so that my RSS feed reader, Liferea wouldn’t go crazy updating my numerous feeds on its own. I might have to disable it from auto-updating as well in the future.
  • I tried to configure my favourite web browser, Epiphany to not download images and other graphical content. Quirk: There is no obvious way to do this, thus, I have switched to using Firefox 3 as my browser. I suppose I can file a bug report about this one.
  • After disabling images in firefox, I tried to register a domain name with Nairahost. Quirk: The site works well for the most part, but some links are invisible since images are not downloaded, and there is no alternative text provided for the browser to fallback to. I was still able to find my way since I am familiar with the site. I believe fixing this is trivial, so I am wondering whether to contact their customer support…
  • My favourite music player, Rhythmbox usually decides to start downloading podcasts at some point. Took me a while to discover this. It can be configured not to, but I just felt like mentioning it. I wish it could tell that I was on an expensive connection, and automagically avoid such behaviour. No fault of rhythmbox though.
  • Chatting via GoogleTalk, or IRC is flaky, mostly because the connection usually has a large number of considerably big time-frames in which zero data is being transferred, regardless of whether there is something pending.
  • Oh, and the network itself is flaky. It disappeared completely on me while I was composing this post 🙂
  • More as I discover. (I am using Ubuntu 8.04.1, in case you didn’t know).

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Random quote: You know, of course, that the Tasmanians, who never committed adultery, are now extinct. — M. Somerset Maugham

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